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Manufacturing: Eye Protection

Eye injuries in manufacturing are most likely to result from work that generates flying particles, fragments, sparks, dust, hazardous substances, or radiation. Tasks with the highest risk of eye injuries are grinding, welding, and hammering. Other high-risk activities include cutting, drilling, spraying, smelting, sanding, chipping, and chiseling.
 
Types of Eye Protection
Employers are required to assess eye safety hazards in the workplace and take measures to ensure employee safety through compliance with government regulations for eyewear. The most suitable eye and face protection for employees:  

  • Should protect against specific workplace hazards
  • Should fit properly and be reasonably comfortable to wear
  • Should provide unrestricted vision and movement
  • Should be durable and cleanable
  • Should allow unrestricted functioning of other required personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Must clearly identify the manufacturer
  • Must comply with ANSI Z87.1-1989

The following types of eye and face protection are recommended for the manufacturing industry:
Safety glasses – protective glasses with impact-resistant lenses, should include side shields
Goggles – tight-fitting eye protection that completely cover the eyes, eye sockets, and facial area immediately surrounding the eyes and provide protection from impact, dust, and splashes (some goggles can fit over corrective lenses)
Welding shields – protect eyes and face from burns caused by infrared or intense radiant light, flying sparks, metal spatter, and slag chips produced during welding, brazing, soldering, and cutting operations
Laser safety goggles – specialty goggles that protect against intense concentrations of light produced by lasers. The type of laser safety goggles an employer chooses depends on the equipment and workplace operating conditions.
Face shields – plastic sheets that extend from the eyebrows to below the chin and across the entire width of the head. Some are polarized for glare protection. Face shields protect against nuisance dusts and potential splashes or sprays of hazardous liquids but will not provide adequate protection against impact hazards. Face shields should be used in combination with goggles or safety glasses to provide additional protection against impact hazards.
 
Fogging
Many employees cite fogging as a factor for not wearing personal protective eyewear. Employers should take necessary measures to reduce the fogging of protective eyewear by using anti-fogging sprays or wipes. If employers reduce eyewear fogging, they will likely see an increase in eye protection usage and worker safety.
 
Protect Your Eyes

  • Maintain a safe work environment by minimizing the risk of objects falling and making sure all tools work properly and have appropriate safety features.
  • Identify work hazards, including hazards from nearby workers, falling objects, and large machinery.
  • Wear proper eye protection for your workplace and make sure it fits correctly.
  • Shake, brush, or vacuum debris and dust from hard hat, forehead, and hair before taking off protective eyewear. Never use compressed air to clean yourself.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes with dirty clothing or hands.
  • Keep your eyewear clean and in good condition.

Emergency Care
If an eye accident occurs, see a medical doctor or eye care professional as soon as possible as injury may not be immediately obvious. Take the following precautions until a medical professional can be seen:

  • If injury involves solid particles or impalement, cover both eyes during transport to avoid more damage.
  • Bandage any cuts around the eye to prevent contamination or infection.
  • Flush the eye with water for at least 15 minutes for chemical burns or if there is small debris in the eye.
  • Use a cold compress to treat a blunt trauma injury. Be careful not to apply additional pressure.
  • Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye as this could worsen the injury.
  • Do not wash out the eye when dealing with eye cuts or punctures.
  • Do not attempt to self-medicate, apply ointments, or take any medications, including over-the-counter drugs.
  • Do not rub the eye or apply pressure. Doing so may cause more damage.

 

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